Archive for July, 2018

July 2018 VOCAL Showcase

July 2018 VOCAL Showcase

Tonight’s VOCAL songwriters showcase featured three performers with totally different styles of music. First up was newcomer Jim Puckett, with guitar and harmonica, and a hard playing Appalachian style, Started off with his first tune, “What Went Wrong”, a chronicle of the singer’s miseries, with lines such as “Nobody to talk to”, “My money’s all gone” etc. to support the title. “Doesn’t the Rain Still Fall” was followed by “Riverside”. a sad tale of a backwoods romance which was followed by “Lenten Roses” a story of love lost and a hope for it’s return. Next song was “Shaky Leg” in which the singer was trying to runaway from his past, and having a hard time at it. Jim’s final tune in his set was “Stand In the James” which hit home with the audience, due to it’s local proximity of the James River. The message here was that the James offers a way to relieve one’s self of the cres that plague us every day and the rush of the water is a healing balm.
Shifting gears, and instruments, Keely Burn, a talented young lady, set up her keyboard and began her pop influenced set. “Waltz” iirst out of the box, was the singer’s personal statemetn on love which seemed to imply cautiousnes and contemplation. She continued on her philosophical bent with “When I’m Acting” in which she sung about how much better she is appreciated when she putting on a character that appeals to the singee, which is less reactive and more passive. “Sky Song” had an intereesting chord sequence which was reminiscent of a 10CC song, That was followed by “The Spirit In Me” aptly played on the organ setting to give a churchy ambience to the song, Keely closed out hewr set with “The Illusive Rhythm” an interesting conversation imagined between the Great Gatsby and his love Daisy. as was noted by many in the audinece, Keely has become a performer to be reckoned with, creating interesting piano melodies and pithy lyrics.
Last up for the night was Andrew Rohlik, wlo has appeared at a VOCAL showcase a time or two in the past, but not in awhile. Contrasting with the previous two perfromers, in style, he plays electric guitar with a vengeance, and a huge dose of funk and soul. He kicked it off with “Take For Granted” which had the songer sort of caught between being able to read his musical object like “an open book” yet trying to convince her of his sincerity, even though she thought he was taking her for granted. “Fine” a tale of not to worry, everything will work out, was punctuated with Andrew’s soul shouting, which also appeared in some of his next material. “Time To Spend” was a message of patience, with lines like “I’d like to get to know you” and “take it slow”, accented musically by a lot of funky guitar riffs. Next song “For What It’s Worth” was desacribed as a breakup song, and indeed, included the line “I’m fine being single”. Using his pedal effects, Andrew went for the wawa sound, so common in past r and b material, on “Lost and Found” and then shifted to a latin beat with “Pique” or “Peak”, which posed the question “where do we go from here”. Creating a singalong, he continuted with “Heads or Tails” with the chorus “we were never meant to bem why can’t you see” which engaged the audience. His high energy performance called for an encore, and Andrew obliged with the song
Through the Fear”. Hs perfromance definitely was different for a VOCAL showcase where country and pop reign supreme most nights.

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June 2018 VOCAL Songwriter Showcase

The June 2018 VOCAL Songwriter Showcase took place on Monday, June 18th at O’Toole’s Irish Pub. This was a really special night with a collaboration between Doug Patrick and Dick Upton. They backed each other up on every song, and also had some stellar guest performers. Tim Morley and Gary Shaver joined them on harmonica and sax/clarinet, respectively, which added a very special element to their songs.

Dick opened up on his keyboards with Going Down to Georgia, a nice bluesy tune taking us down the road to the peach state. Doug then followed with a new song Make it Work, telling us you just have to do what you have to do to “get it done”! Full Time Love is another Doug tune saying I want to be front and center, not a back-seat love. Dick then brought on Distant Friend, an ode to an old friend who was fighting cancer, and who sparked his desire to resume his songwriting. Gary Shaver then joined the stage with saxophone in hand to add some wonderful flavor to the next tune. Dick delivered Put Down the Bottle, asking for help from above in getting through each day. Doug then played his signature tune New Orleans Night, with Gary accompanying on clarinet – thought I was in Dixieland for a moment! Doug then brought us River Town, his tribute to RVA and the wonderful things it has to offer. Dick sang Have you Ever Had the Blues as only he can. He started writing the song 40 years ago, and only finished it six months ago. My Spiritual Home is another really cool, tropical song from Dick about an experience playing a bar in the Florida Keys. Secretariat is a memorable tune from Doug that all horse loves can enjoy, a major source of pride for Caroline County in Virginia. He then delivered Set it Free, letting us know that we are better off than we think we are. Dick then delivered a couple of muse-inspired tunes Why I Do What I Do and Where Everybody Knows My Name. We are all influenced by our musical friends/surroundings, so it’s great to hear songs about that relationship. He was joined by Tim on harmonica and Gary on sax on these numbers. Doug has a very tender song about his grandchild, I’ll Hold You as Long as I Can, teaching lessons of love, patience, and guidance. He then delivered Leave it as you Found it, a moving number about taking care of Mother Earth. Dick ended the show with a new song, You’ll Always Drive me Crazy, featuring Gary again on sax.

This was a very special evening of musical collaboration and was enjoyed by all!

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